The Horizon of the Netherlands has been dominated by windmills for centuries. The windmills are present on very old paintings and pictures. The windmills has become a world famous icon of Holland.
The first windmills in the coastal areas along the southern North Sea and the Channel date from the second half of the 12th century. In the Netherlands, the first windmills appear in the course of the 13th century. These are stand mills where grain is ground into flour. In the 15th century the first polder mills
From the 17th century onwards, the Dutch windmill began a marvelous advance, culminating in the second half of the 19th century. There are then an estimated 9,000 mills in the Netherlands.
The windmills were initially used to grind grain into flour. But all kinds of industrial applications were added, such as pressing oil, making paint or sawing tree trunks. Thanks to these industrial mills, areas such as the Zaanstreek and Amsterdam can become the first industrial centers in the Netherlands. There were no less than 583 windmills in the Zaanstreek around 1731
In addition, there are the mills that take care of the drainage of the polders. Polder mills have also ensured that our country became larger: the dry milling of lakes and ponds caused the Schermer, Purmer and Beemster, among other things.
After the Second World War in the 20th century, economic and technical developments brought the vast majority of the last windmills to a standstill. Fortunately, the mill protection starts to come to full development. Nowadays, windmills are monuments that are protected. And thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, wind and water mills are regularly in operation. With that they attract attention and the interest in this traditional Dutch tool increases again.
There are about 1.050 wind- and 150 watermills in the Netherlands. Visiting a mill is always fun and educational. Most of these are operated by voluntary millers and many welcome guests on saturdays. Just look for the blue pennant! If this is out by the mill, everyone is welcome.
There are a few places where you can see and experience the story of the Windmills in Holland. Below are the best places:
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